Friday, July 7, 2017

Author Interview with K. M. Weiland

I can't begin to tell you how excited and thrilled I am to bring you a very special interview from a very amazing Christian author: K. M. Weiland. A couple weeks ago, I wrote a nervous, fangirly email to one of my new favorite authors on her website, asking if she would be willing to do an interview with me on my blog.
To my surprise (ok, I may have had a small heart of those good heart attacks that fangirls get every once-in-awhile) SHE SAID YES!!!!! And the proper fangirl I am...totally freaked out on the inside.

Since being led to her website by my older sister, I have read three of her fiction novels and one of her nonfiction works. After the first book I read by her: Dreamlander, I was hooked. The fascinating characters, unique plot lines, sweet and humorous romances, faith building lessons, and page-turning action all sucked me in, making it hard to put any of her books down.
I'm a fan.
And, if you have read any of her works, you probably are too. ;) If you haven't read any of her works...I'll tell you nowDreamlander is a free e-book right now on Amazon, so go read it and join the fan club. :) For those of you who judge books by their covers...these are the covers of the fiction stories I've read. Judge away...if you can.

 Image result for DreamlanderImage result for K. M. WeilandImage result for Behold the Dawn

Ok, ok. I'll try to tone down the fangirling at this point. It probably won't last long...but note that I made a valiant effort.

About this fabulous author:
K.M. Weiland lives in make-believe worlds, talks to imaginary friends, and survives primarily on chocolate truffles and espresso. She is the IPPY, NIEA, and Lyra Award-winning and internationally published author of Outlining Your Novel, Structuring Your Novel, and Creating Character Arcs. She writes historical and speculative fiction from her home in western Nebraska and mentors authors on her award-winning website Helping Writers Become Authors.

Let's go onto the interview, shall we? After all, that's kinda why I wrote this post. :P She gave me the limit of five questions... *cough* I may have stretched that line a bit. But I only numbered four of them, so we're even. ;)

1: Which authors inspired/impacted your writing style the most?

As a novelist, I am inspired by countless excellent authors and filmmakers. Specifically, Brent Weeks’s epicness, Margaret Atwood’s prose, and Patrick O’Brian’s sheer genius speak to me and urge me on. As a blogger, I’m inspired by the professionalism and creativity of people such as Joanna Penn, Porter Anderson, and Jody Hedlund.

I love reading authors who are masters of characterization, adept with subtext, and players with their prose. Authors who can put all the puzzle pieces of a story together seamlessly always have something to teach me.

2: What part of writing (brainstorming, typing, outlines, editing, publishing etc.) has been the hardest for you? And on the flip side, which parts are the easiest/most fun?

Sometimes starting is the hardest thing you’ll ever do. But it only takes five seconds of courage, and it only gets easier from there.

The conception stage, before I’ve put the idea down on paper, is always my favorite. The story is free and full of possibilities and uncaged by my words. But I also love the outlining period, when I’m really digging into the story and discovering the path it’s going to take.

3: I know this is like choosing a favorite child for you, but if you had to narrow all your fiction stories down to one favorite, which one would you choose and why?

Yes, to paraphrase Dickens, authors aren’t supposed to have their favorite children. But my medieval epic Behold the Dawn still manages to maintain a special place in my heart. Aside from the fact that it was a comparatively uncomplicated book to write, I’m still just as much in love with those characters as I was when I first created them. Marcus Annan—surly, broken, and good-hearted—and crazy, funny, irreverent Peregrine Marek were such a blast write.
4: Finally, since you probably noticed the extra questions I slipped in there...would you mind giving some writing advice to all of us aspiring authors?

Don’t scrimp on the small stuff. Understanding the details of your craft—and the publishing industry—is what sets the pros apart from the amateurs. If you’re really serious about selling stories, perfectionism needs to be a constant goal. In a cutthroat market such as we have today, nailing the small details will make all the difference.

Special thanks to Katie for being willing to take the time and answer some questions that I hope you all will find as helpful as I did. Again, if you haven't checked out her website, I put a link in the intro paragraph. Her blog has been incredibly helpful to me, and I know it will be to all you fellow aspiring authors who I know read my blog. :)

Should I do more of these interviews with authors we constantly fangirl/boy about? If so, who should I have next? Give your vote in a comment below and I'll see if I can round up another awesome author to question. ;)

~Let everything you do be done for the glory of God~

Friday, June 30, 2017

Belated Post: Dandelion Dust Blog Tour

Yes, this is terribly late. I was supposed to do this post on Thursday. -_- I have already apologized to poor Faith, and now I'm apologizing to all of you. Profusely. I beg you to forgive me. PLEASE. This beautiful, touching story deserved better, as did it's equally beautiful author. I'm just going to say it again, because it makes me feel better about myself: I AM SO SORRY.
Now, enough of the apologies. On to a much more delightful part of my post today.

Take no note of the dates...*looks into sky and whistles a few random bars of Amazing Grace*
Let me introduce you to the fabulous novella Dandelion Dust. A touching story of family strength, steadfast love, and abundant faith in times of testing. Sacrifice. Hope. And a LOT of tears and feels. Make sure you have a Kleenex box nearby. Trust me on that one.

Here is the beautiful cover:

And, the summery:
Like a speck of dandelion dust riding the tides of a prairie wind, life is fleeting. Though I never realized just how fragile it was until that day . . .
Charity always had a dream. It was simple, really. Find a guy, fall in love, and get married.
The day she met Ryder, Charity knew he was the man God had chosen for her. But she never expected their relationship to be tested and tried through the fires of a freak accident. Suddenly, her world is thrown into chaos, and the bleak, white walls and sterile smells of a city hospital fill every spare minute. And then there comes the dreaded news. It was likely Ryder would never make it out of the hospital bed.
As her carefully laid plans for the future come crashing down around her and the sun seems to set on her dreams, can Charity still find hope in the dark of night?
Like a dandelion, life is beautiful. But treasure every moment. . . . for one day, the flower will be gone.

And, here is my Goodreads review:
Faith, Faith, Faith! This was amazing. I'm so sorry my hectic schedule kept me from enjoying this heartwarming tale sooner. I think I've fallen in love with each and every one of your characters and you had better be plotting the sequels or so help me...
I rarely cry while reading, but I choked up not once, but at least FIVE times while reading this. I'm glad I had a Kleenex box nearby.
It was a beautiful, inspiring, and uplifting read that I want to have on my bookshelf as soon as possible.

Last, but not least, I give you an exclusive, just-for-Rebekah's-Remarks-followers-and-nobody-else, interview with the one and only FAITH POTTS from STORIES BY FIREFLY!!!!!! *cue confetti and fanfare* *also cheering and clapping* *and anything else happy and excited that I missed*
I threw some pretty crazy questions at her...this should be entertaining...*insert evil laugh* FOR ME.

1: What inspired your book's plot/characters?
The inspiration for the basis of the plot actually came from a dream I had. (I know. Weird, right?) Nope. That sounds completely normal to me. XD I started with what the dream gave me, and just went with it. Of the characters, some of them are based off of friends and family members, and others are just figments of my overactive imagination. That sounds familiar. ;P

2: Do you have a favorite chapter/scene?
My favorite scene would be the 'haircut scene' from chapter thirteen. It was just so much fun to write, and I feel like the characters' personalities showed through well. For the record, that was one of my favorite scenes too. Gave my poor heart a chance to heal a little. Chapter thirteen could be counted as *one of* my favorite chapters from the book, as well as chapter six. 

3: This is a cruel one, but too much fun to pass up: in five words or less, sum up your book. (Without spoilers. *evil laugh*)

*makes a face and growls* Okay, I'll try. My five or less words: emotional. heartbreak. relationships. trusting. Ooo...good answer. So much for my devious plan. :P

4: Favorite fangirl/boy response from a reader?

Oh goodness, that's a hard one! I don't know that this is my 'top favorite', but I can definitely say I was grinning pretty big when one of my beta-readers told me Ryder was "the most adorable thing ever." Well, he IS. I second that reader's opinion! :D
5: Tell us something you learned in the making of this story. :)
Through the making of this story, God taught me many life lessons. One of them being to cherish those close to me and not take them for granted. Another was to be open to God's will for my life, and to be willing to wait for His perfect timing. And that's just two of them. ;) Thanks so much for doing this Faith! Once more, I apologize for my lateness...I really loved beta-reading your book, and I look forward to holding a copy in my hands! (Along with a bountiful amount of tissues. ;)
Have any of you read Faith's book? If not, go pick up a copy HERE. No excuses. Shoo.

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Babysitting, Sunburns, and Out of State Siblings

Well, this is it. The farewell post to my favorite month of Spring. *sighs* I think that May wins as the fastest fleeing month of this year so far...which is saying something, since ALL the months have gone by incredibly fast. I'm still catching my breath after April. And Summer isn't going to go by any slower. Our family is already neck-deep in preparing for a pretty significant milestone for a certain younger brother of mine this Saturday AND a church retreat next week. Life just doesn't appear to listen to me when I politely request it to SLOW DOWN. Ugh. But enough introduction. I'm sure you're wondering what on earth has kept me strangely quiet on here...honestly, I'm wondering a bit myself. ;) 

This month started with my parents deserting my older sister and I to fend for ourselves as the babysitters of younger siblings while they flew to Wisconson and witnessed my one and only older brother graduate from his seminary. He then joined them and returned to Washington were he was going to be ordained by a group of elders and pastors who had been a godly influence to him throughout his growing up years. 
The day before Andrew's ordination ceremony, my older sister Sarah (yes, she's the one who got married recently) came up for a week to see us and watch Andrew ordained. 
The last time we were all together was for Sarah and Jesse's wedding last September, so having all of us together for a whole week was pretty special. :) 
During this crazy time with all ten of us running around (selfishly trying to get in as much time with Sarah and Andrew as possible) I had my first nanny job end after the parents' schedules lined up so that one could watch the baby while the other worked. This wasn't a tragedy for was exactly what the goal had been when I started babysitting Alice. But with the dad on military time we hadn't known if it would work like we hoped it would. 
Here's where I started realizing God had everything figured out for me...a couple days before I found out that my job watching Alice was at an end, a different nanny job was offered to me, this time for two little girls. At first, there was no way I could juggle the two jobs together, but God quietly shut one of the two doors and I landed this new nanny job. (I'm starting in just a couple weeks!) I'm still in awe at how He managed to put that altogether for me. Don't tell me He doesn't care about the little things in my life. He does. Always has, always will. 
May ended with our church's annual Memorial Day Picnic, hosted at our house. This event requires a LOT of yard work (and house work) that kept all of us busy the entire month. However, God blessed us with AMAZING weather and a wonderful turnout of people. It was fun to see new faces in addition to all the awesome regulars. ;) 
You know those sunburns I mentioned in the title? Yeah, I got pretty scorched during the time spent outside. BUT THEY WERE SO WORTH IT. I also got doused in water...our water ballon fight kind of turned into a "lets fill up five gallon pails and drench everyone with those". It was cold. And it made playing volleyball in our sanded court rather painful. BUT THAT WAS ALSO WORTH IT. XD

This month was not a very good month of writing. I hate to make excuses for my sad amount of writing...BUT family time IS kind of important. However, next month I'm taking a class on college composition, so I'll be cranking out essays by the bucketload. Thankfully, writing essays is something I actually enjoy. 
I wrote a Mother's Day poem. That ought to count for SOMETHING, right? 
I did write some in "A New Name", and started outlining "The King's Cousin" and "Silent Voices" May wasn't a complete loss. ;) 

I'm in middle of like...five to ten books right now, but I did actually COMPLETE three books during May around all the insane mess of busyness. And all three were amazing. Reviews to come on Goodreads. :)
Image result for jupiter winds c. j. darlington
Image result for to kill a mokingbird

Image result for thick as thieves

My wonderful group of beta readers have been wading (pun intended ;) their way through "Ocean Mist" with surprising speed. Two have finished their first read through already, with a couple others not far behind. I'm so grateful for their helpful insights. My poor story needs a lot of help, and help is exactly what they're giving. Without them, I wouldn't feel nearly as confident that my story is going to become something worth reading as I do now. :) 

Here's a sample of what I've had on my playlist this last month.
This song can ONLY be sung in a Scottish accent.
And it will probably be stuck in your head.
You're welcome. ;)
Here are the case you couldn't understand what he's saying. :P I included some interpretation of some of the words below (identified by *.)
The Midges

Sung by Kenneth McKellar

The midges, the midges, I'm no gonnae kid ye's,
The midges is really the limit,
Wi teeth like pirhanas, they drive ye bananas,
If ye let them get under yer simmit*!

The Lord put the Garden of Eden on earth,
And it's north of the Tweed, we believe,
Ay, Scotland's the place, and the whole human race,
Started off with MacAdam and Eve!
In six days or under, he finished this wonder,
Except for the Forth and Tay Bridges,
Then always a bloke for a practical joke,
He made Scotland the home of the midges!

 Back in 1314, the proud Edward was keen,
To take Scotland into his care,
But he made a U-turn when he reached Bannockburn,
Just a few weeks before Glasgow Fair!
For the midges let loose by King Robert the Bruce,
Straight into the English they tore,
So they ran off in tears, and for six hundred years,
They've been blocking the A74!

 Now never forget, when the sun's going to set,
And the midges arise on Loch Eck,
Like the vampires you see, played by Christopher Lee,
They will give you a pain in the neck!
You can smack them and whack them; in vain you'll attack them,
For they know every move that you make,
If you manage to kill yin****, another half million,
Are ready tae come tae the wake!

 Now Torquil the piper's a giant of a man,
With a sporran** as long as your arm,
And in Oban he's known, for the sound of his drone,
And a pibroch*** of real highland charm!
But they're sighing and sobbing, the ladies of Oban,
For Torquil is not what he was,
Since a midge in Glenbranter got hold of his chanter*****,
And carried it off in its jaws!

*simmit (semmet): a vest (part of traditional, male Scottish dress)
**sporran: a pouch (part of traditional, male Scottish dress)
***pibroch: bagpipes
****yin: one
*****chanter: bagpipe part



Goals Reached:
1: Write 10,000 words in "A New Name"
#epicfail I tried guys. I did.
2: Read 5(+) books
Better luck next month. *sigh* WHY IS THIS SO HARD? I love reading...I really do!
3: Write a poem
4: Complete a short story
*cough* Well, it was a nice thought. 
5: Work on editing "Ocean Mist"
Yes. I did. *thumbs up*
6: Spend less than an hour on the internet each day
Surprisingly, I did best on this one. With family around I didn't have much time to waste on Pinterest. ;) 

Goals for June:
1: Read 5+ books
2: Write five chapters in "A New Name"
3: Write five essays
4: Finish outlining "The King's Cousin" and "Silent Voices"
5: Begin editing "Ocean Mist"
6: Finish a short story

Because I foresee a very busy month ahead of me, I thought I'd warn you all that I might not be able to post much on here. I'll try to reply to your comments, and expect a couple blog posts throughout the Summer (I'm still planning on doing 21 Answers posts and monthly overview posts)...but I'm taking a break from Internet stuff (excepting Camp NaNo) until September. 
You could write me snail mail if you really need to get ahold of me. :P I just have a lot going on in my life right now, and the Internet has been bumped down a few notches in my priorities list. So there you gave it.
Also, I'm going to try to upgrade my blog a little...which will mean a lot of days when you happen upon it during the middle of the construction process. Try not to get a heart attack. Everything will look better (hopefully) by the end of summer. :P Speaking of which, I NEED HELP FOR THIS. If any of you are any good at blog design, please let me know you're interested in helping a poor girl out via a quick email. Otherwise, I'll try to manage on my own. *sniff* *puppy-dog eyes*
Other than that, I think I'll stop rambling and let you get on with your life. How was YOUR month of May? ;) 

Sunday, May 14, 2017

To Mom: A Mother's Day Poem

I think most of us can admit that our moms have played one of the biggest parts in our lives. Most of us grew up with her as our teacher. Moms tend to be (in my experience :P) encouraging, sympathetic, and the greatest example of a Christian wife and mother. 
Ok, so I might be a tad bias...(not to boast, but I think I have the best mom by far)...but I thought all the amazing things my mom has done for me over the years deserved a poem. You are welcome to  share this poem with your own mothers if the sentiments apply. :) You're welcome. 
Let your mother know she's appreciated today. Once you've done something fabulous for her, drop by again and leave me a comment letting me know what it was. I want to hear about it! :D
To Mom: 
A Mother's Day Poem

My mom is pretty great,
I've watched her my whole life.
She might not be perfect,
But she can handle strife.

She's organized, she's kind,
And she's attractive too,
(My dad would want that in)
Ask anyone: it's true!

She's a great example 
Of Proverbs thirty-one,
A godly wife and mother,
And besides all that, she's fun!

Not every day is easy...
There's ups and there are downs.
My mom has made a few mistakes,
But her love for us abounds.

The job of being mother
Is not an easy task,
But my mom does it pretty well
Go find someone and ask!

Life is never boring
If mom is somewhere near.
She likes to bring us joy,
Mom really is a dear.

Movies, ice cream late at night,
Play dates and outings too,
Company over for dessert,
And those are just a few!

I could name way more than that 
Of things she's done for us
To make our lives so very nice
She deserves a huge A+!

Someday when I'm a mom,
She's who I want to mimic:
Godly, selfless, kind, and fun...
Yes, that would be quite epic.

Mom, this poem is for you
To show you just how much
I love you and appreciate
Your love for me and such.

These are the words that couldn't fit
Inside that card I gave,
The ones I needed to express
That Mom, you are my fav!! 

Happy Mother's Day to my mom especially, but to all you other moms out there too! You are loved. :) <3

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Life of An Author (Part Two): Finding the Inspiration

After realizing I hadn't done one of these since...January??!?! after PROMISING you guys I would do one every month, I thought I'd change this to a more quarterly thing. ;) Or, a whenever-I-have-time-to-squeeze-one-into-my-hectic-schedule thing. :P 


I'm here. 

And I have a subject I think all we authors can relate to, and something that has been on my mind a lot this year. (It also happens  to be the topic I chose to write for Project, yeah. ;) Hope you enjoy!  

How do we find inspiration? 

​Inspiration is a funny thing. It comes, it goes…or sometimes, it doesn’t come. If you’re just beginning a story and trying to figure out what exactly you want to write, trying to come up with a new scene/character/plot twist, or seeing the light at the end of the story…but not really being sure of how you’re going to get where you were supposed to end up, and wondering who else has problems with those areas, rest easy knowing that you’re not alone. The struggle is real. It happens to all of us writers. 
​The question is; how do we do it? How do we inspire ourselves?
​Well, unfortunately, there’s no easy, step-by-step guide to inspiring yourself. Why? Because each author’s way of getting inspired is unique to themselves. However, I have some good news for you. Inspiration WILL come.
​There are ways you can trick your brain into gaining inspiration faster. Over the years of being a writer myself, I’m going to give you some of the things I use most when I find myself stuck in a certain area.

I Make Sure I’m Following an Outline:
​As a very strong panster, I totally get those of you who kind of brush over the fact that a story needs an outline. Outlines are one of my writing nemeses. I dislike using them as a general rule…but I have to say they are a necessary part of a book. After all, nothing helps your inspiration like having a place you know you need to end up in the next chapter.
​So, if you’re like me, sometimes you need to take a moment when you get hit with writer’s block and find out where your book is headed and where you want it to end up.

I Question My Writing:
​I’m also a somewhat scattered person, so I can get caught up in a conversation between characters and completely forget where I was going with my plot line. When this happens, I inevitably will end up against a wall in my writing. Even if I have an outline to follow, I don’t always know how to get to where I want to be with a certain scene or chapter. This is when I begin a self-interrogation of my story.
​Where do I want this scene to end up?
​What should my characters do in order to get there?
​Which direction do I want this to go?
​How can I make it work with the rest of the plot line?
​How do I get from point A to point B in my story?
​These questions, among a couple others, usually work to get me past whatever made me come to a temporary halt. ​

I Listen to Music:
​Maybe it’s just me, but music can add a lot to my writing. I use it in several different ways, besides just having it as a background soundtrack to my story. Often I’ll hear a song that really works with a certain scene through its lyrics, or music that is perfect for keeping the rising and falling action exciting and intense.

I Talk with Friends or Family Members:
​There are times when I feel especially lost in a certain area. Maybe a character is acting up or I’m drowning in descriptions but completely dry of plot, among other writer issues. This is when I find someone to talk to, either an online buddy or a friend from church or family member.
​It can be so helpful to get out pent up problems by talking to someone about them. Sometimes, I just need a fresh mind to take a look at my work or a set of willing ears to listen to the wrinkles and help me smooth them out. There’s no way an author can get a book perfect without a lot of assistance from people they trust.
​Countless times I’ve been inspired by a conversation with someone, whether for a scene, for a character, or even for an entire plot line. Never underestimate the imaginations of fellow human beings.

I Go to Pinterest:
​Don’t laugh. Pinterest gets a lot of flack from people, and I can understand where they’re coming from…I myself have wasted countless hours on there that I will never get back.
​However, I’ve found Pinterest to be helpful too. I’ve had my writing juices set on fire many times by character pictures, setting ideas, and dialogue and story prompts.
​Yes, it can be time consuming and even wasteful of time I could have spent writing…but in the end, I think it balances out and is worth a try.

I Read Helpful Blogs:
​I have a few blogs by fellow writers that I follow and read on a regular basis. Often these authors have gone through what I’m going through and have helpful insights, tips, and tricks to get me back on track and writing again.
​It’s always nice to know that I’m not the only writer out there that has struggles.There are a lot of people out there who have gone through writer’s block, loss of inspiration, procrastination, etc. They all have tips on how they got over the various roadblocks in their writing. I promise you’ll come away both encouraged and inspired.

I Read Books:
​Sometimes, there’s nothing as inspiring as sitting down and reading a good book. We all have our favorite authors, our favorite writing styles to read, and our favorite time periods to read about. We write what we love, we read what we love…see the connection? Not all copying is bad. (As long as you don’t break the law, of course.) If you know what you love, do that. Then you’ll never fail to want to write more.

I Take Breaks:
​Ok, so this sounds counterintuitive. Stop writing in order to be inspired? Well, not exactly. Hear me out.
​It is possible to write too much. It’s true. If you force yourself to continue writing when you don’t feel like it, your story is going to end up sounding really dry and boring. Trust me, I know. If your story doesn’t have drive behind it, it will end up falling flat.
​There’s a time to keep writing, and there’s a time to step back and reevaluate your life. That’s almost a Biblical principal.

I Write Other Stories:
​Most authors can relate to me when I say that I usually have five to ten stories going at once. Often times more, sometimes less. If I hit a wall in the one I’m currently working on, I switch to a different one.
​While that might sound confusing, it has helped me lots of times. Occasionally, I finish an entire different story while waiting for inspiration for the one I’m supposed to be working on…but at least my time isn’t being put to waste, right?

​Like I said before, every author is different when it comes to finding inspiration. As you can see, there are so many ways you could get inspired. Now it’s up to you to find a way. You will, but it might take some time. Thankfully, you have time. So relax and enjoy the writing process instead of stressing over your lack of inspiration.


Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Easter, a Conference, and a Book-Signing

And, look at that: it's May. Now pick your jaw off the floor and continue reading my post. Or, you know, go finish that math lesson you've been procrastinating on, because GUESS WHAT? the school year is almost over! (For some of you lucky people who have yet to graduate and start college...yes, you get the last laugh.)
Well, I'm not completely done with the month of April yet. I have yet to let you know what has been keeping me extremely busy for the last thirty-odd days. It's a long, hectic story, so buckle up and enjoy a sneak-peek into my life recently.

That's it. I've finally realized that life is never going to slow down. It's ok, I've accepted that fact. I'm an adult now, right? I can handle this...right? *distant sobbing*
Ok, I'm back. Oh, that's right, we were talking about life. *sighs*
The month of April started out with the usual Easter preparation. Our church holds an annual Easter Cantata (as well as a Christmas one) that is always a lot of fun to be a part of. In case you didn't know this, our family is very musical, so we are often a big part of our church's musical things (choir, cantatas, special music, etc.) and this year has been no different.
Squeezed between the Easter Cantata and Easter Sunday was a pretty big event for me: a book signing at a local coffee shop. The Coffee Oasis is a ministry our church has supported from the beginning, and I love what they do for the youth of our community. I would encourage you to look into this amazing outreach and keep those who run it in your prayers.
Anyways, the people in charge have been family friends for YEARS, and when Mom mentioned I was looking for a place willing to host my book-signing, they graciously allowed me to use one of their facilities.
As some of you requested, I got pictures! :) Below lies the proof that people of ALL AGES can enjoy my books. ;)
My dear friend and supporter, Mrs. Miller,
has been a huge help and encouragement to me
throughout my writing endeavors. :) 

Yes, there was actually a LINE at some
points during the two hour time period. ;)

A happy customer!
(Ignore the fact that he's a younger brother of mine please.
He DID actually buy the book...
and cooperated for this picture, so. XD)
At the end of two hours I had sold a grand total of thirty books. Yes, you read that right. THREE, ZERO. I was so blessed by the amazing support group who offered to help me set up the booth, my fabulous fan base in Port Orchard and Gig Harbor, and my incredible family and close friends who selflessly sacrificed their Saturday afternoon to make sure I was able to pull this dream off. You all, and I mean ALL have been such a huge encouragement to me...I can't even begin to say how encouraged I feel TO. THIS. DAY.
Easter Sunday came and went...and we took a brief breath of air before launching ourselves into the next event: the Christian Heritage Homeschool Conference.
My dad is part of the leadership that run this event, so we were more involved with it this year. The speakers were awesome, and the vendor hall extremely tempting to this book lover (and avid book BUYER)...but I had one goal in mind this year as I'm a college kid with a limited budget.
The last time I was unable to attend the conference, my mom purchased a series from an author some of you know pretty well. B-) At the time, I had no idea who she was...but that was soon to change. After falling in love with the characters in her series, I found her blog and began keeping up with this wonderful woman.
Over the next two to three years, I won second and then third place in her annual fan fiction competition before outgrowing them.
With a new series coming out, I kept myself from reading spoilers (as hard as it was) because I wanted to be able to get them from her as signed copies and be able to open them with the first thrill you get when opening a book you haven't read before.
This year, we were finally both going to be at the same conference at the same time. I bought the books I had been waiting to get and met Susan Marlow for the first time.
I gave her a copy of my book as a 'thank you' for introducing me to the world of online, teen authors. :)
The books! *squeaks* So excited to FINALLY
have my hands on them! :D

She was so much fun to talk to, and I ended up giving her a signed copy of my story. Why? Well, she was the main reason I met Jesseca Wheaton and Emily McConnell, as well as most of you other online aspiring authors. I felt she deserved a thank you gift for that. Because of her I have met two amazing girls face-to-face. :D
So there was the month of April in a somewhat streamlined and organized fashion. Hopefully some of my rambling made sense to you. ;) Now onto some of the things I was able to accomplish last month!

As many of you know, last month marked the beginning of Camp NaNo. With everything else I had going on last month, I was unable to get to my goal of 50,000 words...but I did top out at 30,500ish. About 17,000 of that was put toward the beginning of "A New Name"...enough that I MIGHT be able to share snippets with my poor, suffering story blog. >.< I'll be sure to let you all know when that happens so you can read them too. ;)
The rest was written in secret stories you guys don't get to even hear about ignore this sentence. In fact, I'm going to cross this out so you don't read it. Are you reading this? *disapproving noises* Really, guys. Seriously? STOP IT. 

Well, so I actually WAS able to reach my goal of five books. But some of them were *shrugs* I don't have covers for them all, but those I DO have covers for I will give you. ;)

Western Civilization I: the REA CLEP test prep book
Dandelion Dust: Make sure you have a Kleenex box near. Trust me.
A Boy for Rocky: I was given the opportunity to edit and format this delightful children's story by an elderly man I'm friends with.
Ocean Mist: Something about sending a book out to editor's makes you want to read your own book. Several times.
The Secret Keepers: Yes, I finished it. No, I haven't updated that on Goodreads. Yes, a review on Goodreads IS COMING. Thank you for your patience.

Did I read more than five. No. HOWEVER. I have a few books on my shelf now that shouldn't take me long to get through. B-)

As some of you know, I released my novella, "Ocean Mist" to beta-readers last month...I'm hoping to have it edited and ready to publish by the end of Summer! :) This will take time and effort, but I'm looking forward to having it in my (and some of your) hands! :D

Loving this song by Matthew West...the words...*hugs words*

And THIS song by Jason Gray...just...GAH.

And last, but not least, this song by Jadon Lavik:

April's Simply Story Prompts...just for your enjoyment! ;)

Which one do you relate to the most? Let me know in a comment! :D

Goals Reached:
1: Write over 50,000 words in "A New Name"
*cough* I tried. Really I did.
2: Post another "Life of an Author" post
3: Send "Ocean Mist" out to beta readers
YES. I did this. (Thank goodness.)
4: Read 5+ books
Err...I read five? So, that counts, right?
5: Write an Easter poem
Albeit a bit on the late side...but YES. I did!
6: Spend less then an hour on the internet each day all honesty, I forgot that one. It's a good goal though. I think I'll keep it for next month. And...for like...the rest of my life. XD

Goals of May:
1: Write 10,000 words in "A New Name"
2: Read 5(+) books
3: Write a poem
4: Complete a short story
5: Work on editing "Ocean Mist"
6: Spend less than an hour on the internet each day
Those may seem simple...but don't underestimate my ability to keep myself so busy I get NONE of them done. It has happened in the past. It will probably happen in the future. But bless you for having faith in me. XD

There it is. The hectic month of April summed up for me in one blog post. If you made it aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaalllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllll the way to the bottom of it, congratulations. Have some chocolate. :) Until the next post...hope you all have a fabulous May! :D

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

One God, One Savior: A Belated Easter Poem

Yes, I know. This is late. Like...a week and a half late. Keep in mind that I'm part of a pastor's family, though, and we get even more busy around Easter time, so give me a little grace. At least I still WROTE an Easter poem, ok?

After doing two other Easter poems (this is my third annual poem) I was hard put to make one unique from the other two, while still keeping the same message. You'll have to tell me how I did. ;)

One God, One Savior

One God who created our wonderful world
One plan for all our salvation unfurled
One baby, one manger, and one humble birth
One Holy Gift given to the whole planet earth

Two parents who heeded God's sovereign voice
Two people who actually made the right choice
Two parents who raised the Savior of men
Two who did not know just how it would end

One disciple was paid for one dirty job
One kiss to betray his Lord to a mob
One disciple said he would stay by His side
One who later denied Christ and cried

Three men were killed on a Golgotha cross
One was Christ, one was saved, and one was lost
Two deserved the terrible death given them
One would die innocent for the sins of all men

One anguished cry toward His Father above
Two tears dripped down in sorrow and love
One cross took the life of our Savior and Lord
Three bloody streams from His body out-poured

Three days in darkness the body then laid
Three days for the people He had just saved
Three days he was dead in a cold, lonely grave
Three days until the stone rolled away

Two disciples who ran to the tomb that dawn
Two who saw that His body was indeed gone
One who doubted saw his Savior alive
One who then touched His hands, feet, and side

One sacrifice of love which set us all free
One Savior who now hold the eternal key
To one heaven that we can now all enter in
If we cast on Him our guilt and our sin

Believe this one thing and you will be saved
Believe in the sacrifice of love which He gave
Believe me when I say that there is no other way
If you want to see heaven from the inside one day

I hope you all had a wonderful time celebrating our risen Savior! I know our family did. :)

Saturday, April 15, 2017

21 Answers to the Question: Are ALL Those Kids Yours?

It's that time of month again...another 21 Answers post that you all love so much. ;) This time, dealing with one of my favorite questions we big families get asked: "Are ALL those kids yours?" Oh man, I have WAAAAAY too much fun coming up with answers to this one. Not to boast, but I think my siblings and I have come up with some of the most clever comebacks for this particular question. *puts on sunglasses and a fedora* B-) 
Let me know in the comments which answers YOUR family use when asked this question (or something similar). Until then, sit back and enjoy some Eddy snarkiness. ;) 

1: "No, they actually belong to my parents..."

2: "This is only some of us. There's more at home."

3: "Yes. And yes, we know we're incredible. Thanks."

4: *Pick out a sibling at random* "Well, HE/SHE'S a robot. But other than that..." 

5: "No, we just randomly pick up stray children while shopping for groceries." 

6: *in a whisper* "Are they?" *walk away mysteriously*

7: "I gave them free candy. Now they won't leave me alone."

8: *look behind you in surprise and gasp* "Oh my goodness! I'm being followed!"

9: *glance around in bewilderment* "What kids? I don't see any kids."

10: "I would HOPE so!"

11: "So I've been told..."

12: "Pretty sure."

13: "It depends...why are you asking me?"

14: "It has come to this."

15: "You tell me!" 

16: "Be that as it may, still may it be as it may be." 

17: "What sort of a question is THAT?"

18: "With God, all things are possible."

19: "Are you sure you want to know the answer to that question?"

20: "How strong is your heart?"

21: "Becoming a poacher is never a good idea. Sorry, did I hear the question wrong?"

Which answer was your favorite?

Coming up next month:
21 Answers to the Question: What is Your Dream Job?

Sunday, April 9, 2017

The Search has Begun (Also, a Sneak Peak of My Newest Work)

Well, the time has come. I'm ready for beta readers. My little novella, "Ocean Mist" is as edited as I can get it in my current state of business, and I'm sending it on to the next level. But, I need some help.
In fact...I need a LOT of help. So here I am, holding up a HUGENORMOUS "HELP ME PLZ" sign to all you potential beta readers out there. :)
In order to give you a little idea of what this book is about, I stole the snippets tag questions and I'm going to use them here. Also, you get to see the current cover picture. (This is probably going to change...knowing me and how I am, but anyways...)
Finally, at the end of this post, I'm going to give you the link to where you can sign up as a beta reader for my beloved story. Ready? Let's do this! :D

Here's the current cover, (NOT the finished work, I promise. ;)

Share your gripping, fascinating, and hooking first line of a story:
Not sure if this is necessarily gripping, fascinating, or hooking...but it IS the first line of my story, so:

Vacations never end up going the way they’re supposed to when you are a part of a pastor’s family.

Share a snippet that made you want to shout to the world that you're SO. HAPPY:
Oh, by FAR the last snippet of the story. I was so glad I was DONE. XD (I may have squealed out loud when I ended the snippet below and triumphantly wrote THE END at the bottom of the page. :)

“Well, one thing I know,” Nicole declared the next day while they drove to Washington, “I was not expecting our vacation to end this way. But then, when do pastor’s vacations ever go as planned?”

Share a snippet that gives some insight into one of your most favorite characters ever:
Oh, man...I love all my characters in this story. So, I'm going to give you snippets that describe each of their characters the best. K?

(Oldest PK)
           Nicole slipped into the house after her brothers and walked into the small kitchen. Good smells assaulted her nostrils, and for a moment, the growling in her stomach almost made her forget why she was in there.
         Her mom was standing over a pot, stirring something in it. She looked up and caught sight of her oldest child standing awkwardly in the doorway. “What is it, honey?” she asked softly.
         Nicole chewed on her lip. This was turning out a lot harder than she thought it would be. Just tell her everything! her impulsiveness yelled. What will she think? the timid side answered softly. She’ll understand, she’s MOM for crying out loud! replied her sensible self.
         “Can I have a mother-daughter talk with you later this evening?” Nicole finally managed.
         A puzzled frown settled between her mom’s eyebrows, but she nodded. “Of course sweetie. Now help me with dinner please.”
         Relieved that it was over for now, Nicole enthusiastically plunged into dinner prep. Later…she would tell her mom everything later.

(Nicole's Twin)
          The first thing Shawn was aware of in the morning was his brother kicking him violently in the shin and exclaiming in a groggy voice, “Quit snoring already! You’re being so loud!” It crossed his mind that he couldn’t have possibly been being louder than Ray’s talking. With a resigned sigh, he bore the kicks and tried in vain to go back to sleep.
         On his side, his eyes determinedly shut, Shawn cleared his mind in order to drift off. Instead, his ears began picking up sounds. Ray’s even breathing told him that his brother had successfully made it back into dream-land, and the clock on the wall ticked louder than he would have liked. Far away, from down the staircase, he could hear his dad already up and it sounded like he was making coffee. Good, Shawn thought tiredly, I’ll need a cup of that to keep me awake today.
         Finally, giving up on going back to sleep, he opened his eyes and squinted at the red numerals on the room’s alarm clock. 6:35 am, it read accurately. Shawn rolled from the queen-sized bed he shared with his brother and opened the door as quietly as possible. He didn’t dare to look in the mirror, knowing his dark hair was probably sticking in all directions of a compass, plus a few more invented directions, and not wanting to accept the reality yet. Already he was painfully aware of his bed-rumpled appearance, but rested in the assurance that he would be put together by breakfast since he had been forced awake before 7:00. He padded down the stairs in his stocking-feet and arrived in the living room.

(Nicole and Shawn's younger brother)
          “I am so done with doing nothing!” Ray exclaimed as he tossed the now empty backpack into the corner of the floor and shut his temporary dresser’s drawer with a loud bang.
         “Hey!” their mom’s voice drifted up the stairs. “Careful up there! This house isn’t ours! Treat their things with respect!”
         “Yes Mom!” Ray answered guiltily, checking the dresser for signs of damage. Satisfied that it was fine, he looked over at his brother who shared the room with him and watched as Shawn carefully, almost painstakingly, folded each shirt and pair of jeans into his portion of the dresser. His meticulous behavior caused Ray to roll his eyes heavenward and stifle an audible groan. ‘E’s ‘opeless, he thought with a shake of his head, the quote from Lord of the Rings coming to mind easily. There’s a better chance that Nicole’s done un-packing. Maybe after Shawn finishes finally we could take a walk down and along the beach. Something other than 
just sitting here doing nothing. Ray acted on his thought almost before it was complete, walking to the door across from his own room and knocking on it.
(Shady neighborhood kid. ;)
            Dillon glanced up at his best friends through the mangled remains of Ray’s rented bicycle; both were bent over in order to be at his eye level.  He heaved a sigh and continued fiddling with the wrench until the twisted metal gave way with a tired squeak. The appearance of Mark and Steven was the last thing he wanted right now. Dillon had fled to the garage in order to forget all about the day by fixing something…anything. It was how he coped with his anger. Somehow, it always made him feel better.
            “I didn’t hear you guys drive in,” Dillon said. Usually he was warned of Mark or Steven’s arrival by the sound of a car motor or gravel crunching in the driveway. Squinting against the setting sun that shone brightly through the open garage door, he shifted 
over until Steven’s shadow blocked the bright light from his face.
            “We were going to sneak up on you and dump sand down your back,” Mark admitted.
            “But your dad caught us in the act and told us you probably weren’t up to practical jokes right now,” Steven put in. “And since you’re in here, I can see he’s right.”
            “So we came out here to find out what was bothering you and have a man-talk,” Mark finished.
            Dillon couldn’t help smiling. Mark and Steven always managed to make him smile, no matter what he was going through emotionally. That was why they were his friends. He worked at the bent wire while working his frustration at himself out of his system.
Mark and Steven:
(Friends of Dillon' also shady neighborhood hooligans :P)
These guys are my equivalent to Merry and Pippen in Lord of the Rings. They were SO MUCH FUN to write dialogue for. XD Enjoy!
          Steven’s mouth hung open in disbelief. “She stuck her tongue out at you?” he asked.
         Dillon nodded before allowing himself a chuckle. “You should have seen the looks on her brothers’ faces. If they could look daggers, I’d be dead.”
         “Well, it’s understandable her not liking you,” Mark said suddenly. “If I had been the one to pick up her drawing, she would have swooned right there I bet.”
         Steven snorted. “Whatever,” he said. “Everyone knows I’m the handsomest of us three.”
         Both Mark and Dillon looked at Steven with disbelief.
         “Your hair alone is enough to give any girl a heart-attack,” Mark declared. “My hair, on the other hand—”
         “Makes you look like a girl,” Dillon finished with a grin.
         “It does not,” Mark shot back indignantly. “It’s gorgeous.” 
He twirled the end of it and fluttered his eyelashes.
         “Puh-leeese,” Steven groaned aloud.
         “It’s not fair,” Mark declared, glaring. “Dillon has girls falling in his pathway left and right, all he does is give them his Look and they swoon, yet he doesn’t ever take advantage of the opportunities.”
         Dillon gave his friend a puzzled frown. “My look?” he asked.
         “Yeah,” Mark shrugged. “I can’t do it, but you do it to girls and they loose themselves.”
         “I don’t think I give girls any looks. Not on purpose at any rate,” he added with a grin. “Personally, I don’t want to bother about them quite yet.”
         “It’s like you raise an eyebrow and give them a dashing I’ll-save-you-from-the-world smile,” Mark said thoughtfully. “It’s a thing you do.”
         Dillon shrugged. “I mostly try to be polite to girls. Maybe they like guys who are polite. I dunno. Hey, next time you catch me 
doing whatever you say I do, let me know so I know when I’m doing it.”
         Mark grinned. “Sure thing. Anyways, dinner’s on you tonight.”
         “What?!?!” Dillon exclaimed. “I thought it was Steven’s turn!”
         “Well, since Steven quit his job, and since I don’t have cash on-hand, and since it’s your dad who owns the pizza place…we voted for you to pay tonight.”
         Dillon sighed. “Oh, fine. Dad will probably give us a discount anyways.”
         “Exactly,” Mark nodded decisively. “Shall we go?”
         He rolled his eyes. “Sure, why not?” At least they weren’t teasing him about that girl.

Share a snippet that gets you beaming with pride and you’re just like ‘yep, I wrote that beauty':
I had a tough time coming up with a snippet that fell under this category...I don't usually write things where I make myself beam in pride. I've made myself laugh, and I've made myself cry (not on this story, I promise) but never made myself beam with pride. *shrugs* Maybe I'm missing something, I dunno. But here's A snippet that MIGHT fall under this. Maybe.

           Ray managed to wait until after his dad had said the final “amen” before blurting, “Can we ride our bikes today?”…a question he had obviously been waiting to ask all morning.
            The pastor and his wife shared an amused glance at their son’s eagerness. “You’ll have to wait until after breakfast for our answer,” their dad answered.
            From the look on Ray’s face, “wait until after breakfast” could have meant “wait until you die or have grandchildren…whichever comes last”, but, like the obedient child they were training him to be, he suffered his impatience in silence… At least until the said time was over and the three teens had helped clean up after their breakfast.

Share a snippet of genius, deliciously witty dialogue between your characters.
Oh, goodness. My whole book is made up of dialogue between characters. If you've read this far, you've already seen some of my favorites...but for you, I'll add a couple more. :)

         “Ray, buddy, talk to me,” Dillon was saying, down on his knees by her prostrate brother. Concern was showing in his eyes and leaked through his request.
            To her relief, Ray let out a groan. He could understand them. That was a good sign. She knelt on the other side of him and noticed the gash in his side for the first time.
            “Guys, we need to stop the bleeding,” she said.
            “Um…does anyone have a Band-Aid?” Dillon asked the small circle.
            Nicole let out a groan herself. “You didn’t pack a First Aid kit?”
            Sheepishly, Dillon shook his head.
            “Boy, what is it with guys and not being practical?” she muttered. “What we need,” she continued in a louder voice, “is actually not a Band-Aid, but some sort of absorbent cloth. The cut in his side is too big to be covered by a Band-Aid. Also, we’ll need to wash it before we can wrap it up.”
            “Oh, like in movies,” Mark said, nodding to himself as if it all made sense now.
            Steven handed her his mostly unused water bottle, the first helpful thing any of the boys had done, and she dumped the better part of it over the gash in her brother’s side. She did her best to use the remainder of that water bottle and Ray’s to clean the rest of the abrasions. Now to find bandage materiel…


            “How are you feeling?” she asked him.
            “Like I was run over by a car and then trampled by a herd of horses before being carried off and eaten by a dragon,” he said.
            She smiled, and he heard chuckles of amusement from around him. “So, a little better, I take it.”
            Ray nodded, but winced when the movement made the pain levels skyrocket. “Yeah, I guess.” He paused, and watched as her busy hands went to find every cut and bruise. “You can say ‘I told you so’,” he offered. “I totally deserve it.”
            Nicole raised an eyebrow at her brother’s confession, but shook her head. “It’s too late for that,” she said. “I could stand an apology for scaring me out of my wits though.”


            “I really, really messed up today,” he said.
            “Ok.” Mark plopped down and crossed his legs Indian-style. Leaning backwards on his arms, he regarded Dillon with a raised eyebrow. “But what made this mess up worse than the mess ups you always make every day?”
            “Gosh, you really know how to make a guy feel better,” Dillon grumbled, unscrewing the ruined tire and rolling it out of the way.
            “Seriously though,” Steven said. “What happened?”
            Little by little the story came out. The more Dillon talked about it, the worse he felt. He took out his irritation on the helpless bike with various jabs and twists. Once he was finished, a heavy silence hung over the three friends. Dillon didn’t dare meet their eyes, and continued working in silence.
            “Wow.” Mark, no surprise, was the first to find his voice.
 “Bro, tell me that you didn’t actually say all that out loud. You only thought it, right?”
            Dillon groaned, resting his oil-stained forearm against the upside-down bicycle skeleton and putting his forehead on that. “I did say all of it,” he answered. “Yelled it actually.”
            “Dude…” Mark’s word of admonishment died and mixed with a moan.
            “You’re going to have to apologize, buddy,” Steven said.
            Again?” Dillon quailed from the idea. “I’ve known these guys for less than a week and I’ve already made an idiot of myself twice.”
            “Well, if you want to still be their friend, you’re going to have to apologize,” Steven repeated.
            “I know,” Dillon agreed miserably. “But what on earth am I going to say?” He gave his friends each a pleading look.
            “Hey, I wasn’t the one who made an idiot of myself to a pastor’s family,” Mark said defensively. “How would I know what 
to say? Don’t give me that look!”
            “You could try, ‘sorry I opened my big mouth and said all that stuff, I shouldn’t have’,” Steven suggested, and then shrugged. “But it’s your apology, not mine.”
            Dillon sighed and turned back to Ray’s bike. “I’ll think about it,” he relented. “I do want to keep our friendship, but it’s going to be awkward no matter what I do or say at this point.”
            Mark and Steven nodded and then stood up together.
            “Welp, good luck,” Mark said.
            “Have fun storming the castle, boy,” Steven added with a grin.
            Dillon took the bait and asked, “Do you think it’ll work?”
            “It’ll take a miracle,” Mark and Steven both chimed in together.
            All three boys burst out laughing, and when it died into chuckles, Dillon was feeling better already. His blues had effectively been pushed out of his mind by the good-humored banter his friends always supplied.


          “Now, what did you want to tell us?” The pastor sipped his cocoa, then grimaced and began fanning his mouth, his tongue sticking out. “Hot,” he explained to his wife who had an amused look on her face.
            “I did warn you,” she said. “There’s a very good reason it’s called hot cocoa.”
            “I know,” he answered, “it thtill hurt’th.”
            “Do you need thome ithe?” She mimicked his lisp while a smile danced in her eyes, for a moment looking very similar to Ray when he made a witty remark.
            “That would be nithe,” he said.
            Once the ice cube had been placed on the sore tongue and licked a few times, he pastor returned his gaze to Dillon 

Share a snippet that leaves you breathless, in a cold sweat with action-induced intensity.
This story has very few moments like this...its more character driven than plot driven, so there's not a ton of conflict. However, I did get one snippet that was close enough to fit in this section for you. :)

            Ray relished the feel of wind rushing against his face. He shut his eyes for a moment as the bike’s wheels carried him smoothly along the sidewalk. His legs pumped the pedals up and down, around and around, as he worked his way up the hills. He was becoming seriously addicted to vacations. They were so awesome!
            “Hey, dude! Watch out!” The frantic cry came from behind 
            Ray’s eyes flew open in time to watch himself crash into a telephone pole. He jumped sideways, off the bike and away from the object in his path, only to land on the sidewalk and skid a foot before coming to a halt in a haphazard heap. Scrapes from the cement were all over his hands, arms, elbows and knees. His shirt was ripped and a gash from the handlebars was beginning to bleed heavily. Pain. The world was full of pain. Everything hurt.
            Nicole watched her younger brother ride with the careless abandon he was known for, and heard Steven’s frantic warning come too late. Her first reaction had been one of concern, but that soon mixed with angry frustration. Her brother must have had his eyes closed in order to run into a telephone pole without realizing it. With her teeth clenched, she mounted her bike along with Shawn and rushed to the scene of the accident.
            Her brakes jerked her bike to a stop, skid marks showing up clear on the light pavement. She stumbled over to Ray who lay 
groaning on the ground. A few tears had squeezed their way out of his eyes, which was a bad sign. Ray never cried in front of people.

Share a snippet of a most interesting first meeting between your characters. I have the perfect snippet for this. *rubs hands together* You guys are in for a treat. :)

       Unbeknownst to the three teens, another set of eyes had been watching their little drama with amusement. The boy’s eyes watched as one drawing scuttled his direction, stopping only when it caught on his sandal. He bent automatically and picked it up. It was a picture of a car traveling down a highway with a family of five squeezed into it. The dad driving, the mom showing him something on the map, the girl drawing, the darker haired boy reading a book with a disposable coffee cup in one hand, and the last boy looking out the window with a look of obvious impatience 
on his face. He grinned. The girl was talented.
         As he looked over the picture, the girl was coming closer, stooping every once in a while to get one of her drawings. Closely following her, the two boys were also gathering the strewn papers. Finally, she noticed him standing there with one of her pictures in his hand.
         Nicole looked up and found herself a yard away from a boy holding one of her sketches. “That’s mine,” she said. “Can I have it please?”
         He gave it to her with a smile. “Sure. It’s a good drawing.”
         “Thanks,” she answered guardedly.
         “Anytime,” he replied, with a confidence that was unnerving. Nicole was glad that her brothers were standing behind her now.“So, what’s your name?”
         “I’m Nicole, and these,” she nodded towards her brothers, “are my siblings. This is my twin Shawn, and this is our younger brother Ray.” The boys shook hands cordially, but with hidden 
suspicion of each other. “And you are…?”
         “I’m Dillon. Nice to meet such an accomplished artist.” Dillon’s eyes were twinkling. “There aren’t many who live around here.”
         “Oh, well,” Nicole began, we don’t live here, she was going to say, but Shawn warned her with a look to not tell a perfect stranger all about themselves within the first five minutes. “I’m not very accomplished,” she finished a little lamely.
         “Sure you are!” he replied with a dashing grin. “Accomplished and pretty,” he added suddenly.
         Caught off guard, Nicole’s mouth dropped open in surprise and she stuttered for the right words, a frown darkening her face. She felt the tension thicken in the air around her and knew her brothers were stiffening behind her.
         “Well, I have to be getting home. Good luck with your artistic endeavors,” Dillon said quickly, showing Nicole that she wasn’t the only one feeling the growing animosity in the air. 
         Impulsively, she stuck out her tongue at the boldly-spoken boy, but when he had gotten a safe distance away, a sudden idea came to her and a twinkle of mischief appeared in her eyes. She gave a long sigh. Taking on what she hoped was a far-away, dreamy look; she gave another sigh for good measure before commenting in a thick voice, “Wow, he’s so handsome.” She was rewarded by gagging sounds behind her as her brothers now stuttered on words that refused to come out of their mouths.
         “Ick!” Ray finally exclaimed in a decisive manner. “You can’t be serious!”
         “Don’t tell me you like that dude!” Shawn put in, horrified.
         Nicole, no longer being able to act as a love-stricken teenaged girl, let out a giggle. Her cover blown, she burst out into laughter, tears appearing in her eyes and streaming down her face as she doubled up. Gasping for air and holding her stomach, she couldn’t stop herself. The comical looks of complete puzzlement 
that her brothers gave her didn’t help. The explosive mirth soon died into hiccups and she wiped at the tears still streaming down her face.
         “You-hic,” she began, pointing a shaking finger at her brothers, “you-hic thought I liked that guy-hic?” she asked. “You’re both-hic crazier than me-hic.”
         “Well you said,” Ray pointed out.
         “You acted like a-a…” Shawn struggled for the right wording.
         “Love-struck teen-hic?” Nicole supplied, breathing deeply to try to stop the hiccups.
         “Well, I don’t,” Nicole said firmly to her brother’s relief. “Now shall we finish that walk we wanted to go on?”

Here's the moment you all have been waiting for...the link you all read through my post to get to.


Now I'm off to stalk the link myself and see who all joins me. :)
I dedicated this book to a very special group of friends...and you can't know who they are unless you yeah. B-)

How did you enjoy the snippets? Which character do you think is your favorite? Are you looking forward to its release? ;)

*EDITOR'S NOTE: I have no idea why the fonts and font colors are acting weird. Please forgive my lack of sufficient techiness. I beg your pardon a thousand times.